Class Ekphrastic Poems – based on “War” by Ahmed Nussaif


Buttons of Peyote

The dusky sky

pushes my peyote buttons being pressed by an American Eagle

Beep, Beep, Beep, BEEEEP, flatlined in the desert

Yet the sun peeks through, giving a dark hazy, potentially false, sense of beautiful hope

Nothing is ever in order

We watch the melted metal

fall from the afternoon sky.

The Human Shades of Khaki, denim, and window pane

create an urban Twilight – Watches shoot through my

peripheral like streams of Hot tracers.

Desert of Despair

Sand whips around as the blades cut the air

the drab palettes of war separated by the heat

Choppers disintegrating as I pull out my hair

The desert heat will melt the metal

The space in the desert where misery and destiny meet

In the worn skies of the desert of despair

Layer Cake:  A Recipe

Step one, mix cultures & ideals into a bowl

Stir with ignorance and xenophobia.

Beat in death until stiff.

Bake at 120 degrees, or until the helicopters melt.

Garnish with WMDs. (if you can find them).


3 thoughts on “Class Ekphrastic Poems – based on “War” by Ahmed Nussaif

  1. awesome, I am glad you put them up. In the first poem, at the end, it is Tracers, as in tracer rounds that are used to trace where they shoot. A special mix of magnesium and strotium (the strotium gives it the bright red glowing color) are used in the base of the bullet that burn brightly when fired, usually every third or so round is a tracer in fully automatic gun fire when one wishes to fight with a measure of accuracy in dimly lit or completely dark areas. This is used in anti-air warfare, and also used in low-light dense scenarios, like jungle fighting, night fighting, and urban fighting. Tracers are not used when direction of a shot is meant to be hidden, thus snipers will not use them. Of course, our soldier in class knows about them, so I am not telling her about anything new! I really liked your presentation. I am doing my expo thing on PTSD as it has a special meaning to me, so I am going to be literally, taking a page out of turners book!

    • Sorry about that, I fixed it! That makes more sense now, such amazing imagery too. Thanks for the info, I honestly did not know all the technicalities of tracer rounds. My assigned weapon over there was the M249 machine gun and our issued ammo had a tracer every 5 rounds. I don’t know if you could find a youtube video of this, but it’s also pretty cool to watch through NVGs (night vision). We also have single tracer rounds (vs linked) for our non-automatic weapons. Night-fire is a requirement for weapon qualification with the M4 and we use the NVGs during that; to anyone watching it looks like we’re shooting into nothing but darkness (exactly like the youtube link in your comment). I think it’s awesome that you’re doing your expo project on PTSD.

  2. oh in the first poem we did,it is “The Human Shades of Khaki, denim, and window” If “paneP after window would be added it would make me happy. (I am a poetry buff, and I am already trying to revise this, haha!)

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